I’m kicking back in Lisbon at the moment, and I want to share some of my impressions with you.
This is a very laid back city with a great multicultural feel.
I love the strong links to the history of exploration (I’ll have more to say about that in my next blog…).
And, although it’s past its prime on the world stage, Lisbon has a vibrant energy that’s lacking in other European capitals.
You can find great art collections here too. I wandered around the Gulbenkian Museum on my first day in town, and I was surprised to discover a new interest in antique furniture and jewellery.
It houses a rather eclectic collection — from Roman sculpture and coins to European masters like Manet and Rubens, to some incredible Louis XV and Louis XVI furniture — amassed by the Armenian Turkish oil magnate Calouste Gulkbenkian and left to his foundation to exhibit in one place. And it’s a pleasure to explore, and to see these wide ranging areas of art side by side.
I’ve also been touring old palaces and manor houses. That’s long been an interest of mine. I love wandering the vast empty rooms, and imaging myself living there alone among my books, or exploring these mysterious corridors as a character from some children’s novel by Enid Blyton.
Here are a few photos from the Casa-Museu Medeiros e Alameida, former home of the art collector and industrialist Antonio Medeiros e Almeida (1895-1986). It gives you a wonderful sense of how the wealthy and successful lived in this section of Lisbon in the nineteenth century:
Lisbon is home to many immigrants from Portugal’s former colonies too — places like Brazil, the Cape Verde islands, Macao, and Mozambique — and it’s possible to find some incredible ethnic food here.
I had an amazing dinner at a back alley place last night that served cuisine from Goa (in India). Prawn and okra curry, followed by a wonderful spicy lamb dish:
This is a working trip, of course, and so I’m following the usual schedule of my Road Wisdom Lifestyle…
I rented a little apartment with fast wifi right off the Rossio square. And I spend the morning doing stuff for my online business. The afternoons exploring. And the evenings hard at work on my latest book.
Here’s the view from my window when I’m writing:
And here are a couple pics of my favourite neighbourhood cafe — the Confeitaria Nacional — serving wonderful pastries since 1829, right around the corner.
I’ll have more to share with you in the coming days.
But I do have one immediate word of advice: if Portugal isn’t on your short list of places to travel, you need to add it. Right away.
Stay tuned to my blog and you’ll learn more about why…